Lebanon faces internet service interruption amid fuel crisis

Lebanon's state internet provider says internet services have been disrupted because of diesel shortages

Via AP news wire
Sunday 16 January 2022 11:54
Lebanon
Lebanon

Internet services were disrupted in Lebanon Sunday because of diesel shortages, according to the state provider, adding another essential service to the list of casualties of the country’s snowballing economic crisis.

Imad Kreidieh, the head of state internet provider Ogero, tweeted that starting early Sunday a major station in west Beirut al-Mazraa, would run out of diesel and go offline. The outage affected over 26,000 subscribers, including the country’s General Security operation rooms, he told Al-Jadeed TV.

By midday Sunday, a resident donated diesel, allowing the station to get back online, he said. Meanwhile, another neighborhood in east Beirut, Achrafieh, was out of diesel and operated on batteries.

“The situation is unbearable,” Kreidieh told the TV station.

Lebanese live with only few hours of state electricity a day and rely on a network of private generators that also depend on diesel fuel. This often leaves neighborhoods in total darkness for hours. Meanwhile, residents have to pay for multiple services, including hefty bills to generator operators, which change regularly as the crisis worsens.

Internet and telecom services already were expensive in Lebanon. In 2019, a tax imposed on WhatsApp services sparked nationwide protests that turned into a denunciation of the entire political elite.

The import-dependent country is also suffering from shortage of medicines, leaving patients dependent on black market, smuggled medicines and donations from Lebanese expats and civil groups.

Lebanon is in the throes of the worst financial and economic crisis in its history that has sunk the once middle-class country into poverty.

The crisis is rooted in years of corruption and mismanagement by the same political class that has ruled for years. Lebanon is running out of foreign reserves and has gradually lifted subsidies on essential goods, including fuel and medicines.

But the government has yet to implement a social safety program or draft a recovery plan to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund

The crisis caused the national currency to lose more than 90% of its value to the dollar while banks, fearing bankruptcy, have limited people’s access to their deposits in local and foreign currency. Meanwhile inflation has soared and prices increased.

The state-owned and other telecommunication companies complain they can’t keep up with rising operational costs, including fuel.

“I will not agree to continue in this post unless I have all the authorities and tools to do my job,” Kreidieh told Al-Jadeed.

He blamed the service interruption in west Beirut on a civil servant who didn’t sign a piece of paper on time to allow him to buy needed diesel. Amid the crisis, many public sector workers have gone on strike, demanding their salaries be adjusted to rising inflation and a collapsing currency.

Kreidieh said internet service is also affected outside of Beirut.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in